Well I took the weekend off from the blog because I just needed a break. It has been a long and painful season. The Raptors on Saturday would extend their winning streak to 6 games and eliminate the Knicks from the playoffs officially. The Knicks on Sunday would end the streak and return the favour. So on the day that Baseball season beings the basketball season is done in Toronto. Sure there is 6 games left but now people can all be on the same page and start to talk about what is wrong with this team and move forward. I have not let this 6 game win streak cloud my judgement of what happened the rest of this season. Jose Calderon was excellent during that streak but I am not convinced like some that this was proof that Calderon will be great and this season was a write off. I do understand this was the worst possible case of how thing could have went wrong this year. However a 6 game win streak that featured 2 quality wins out of 6 is not going to do it.
Perhaps you can see Calderon build off this next season and build off this in some way. Truthfully Calderon has had to change and adjust his game more than anyone with Jay Triano and the team changing it's direction drastically on offense. It is becoming clear that the system and likely Triano with it will be remaining. So Calderon is going to have to continue to grow and learn it. He is basically having to unlearn a lot of things he has grown up with in basketball. I think the most impressive thing to me in all of this in Calderon's play down the stretch is his defensive effort. It is absolutely key for Calderon to continue this effort and improve his defense. If he does not and remains the starting point guard of this team they will never improve on defense without that. I am not looking for Chris Paul defense out of Calderon. I will be happy with just average defense and an effort above average. Next season will tell us a lot about Jose Calderon one way or the other.
I think that Calderon and Bargnani can be safe in thinking they will return. Beyond that it is an open for debate question. The biggest question is the one of Bosh. If anyone out there thinks the Raptors are better off with no Chris Bosh that is just not true. Least in the short term it is not. It is a challenge to win a championship with a team build around a power forward. It is a position that needs help to succeed. Bosh and his success in a lot of ways gets tied to how well this team around him can play. That is really what will be the question that needs to be answered. Does Bosh have the faith in Colangelo to bring in the players around him to have the kind of success. Colangelo as far as this season goes seeing as it is opening day in baseball it seems fitting to say he struck out. Can he step up to the plate this off-season and deliver and does Bosh believe in that enough to say to Bryan that he will be here for the long term. It is going to be a hard thing to do. The temptation of playing with a James or a Wade may be to much to over come for Colangelo to convince Bosh. I think it is safe to say Lebron or Wade are not coming to Toronto in 2010. So can Colangelo paint a picture that does not include those 2 players that Bosh can believe will lead to him being successful. 30 million dollars to offer is something but if Bosh is the guy he has said he is that will not be the only factor. Bosh says he wants to win and the amount of money he can get would not factor into that if that is truly goal number 1 for him. Hard to say what will happen but it will be an off-season that will be defined by a meeting that Colangelo and Bosh have when this season officially ends. The outlook and direction of this off-season will be defined by that.
Shawn Marion time in Toronto may now be done. I would say the odds of him returning would seem unlikely to me. I have said it in the blog before. If you are going to take a huge pay cut are you not more likely to consider going to a team that is a contender? If Shawn Marion is going to end up with a deal at the mid level exception it seems hard to believe he does that in Toronto unless it was part of a sign and trade. The fact he has a relationship with Bryan Colangelo makes that a more likely thing.
Colangelo has a plan though make no mistake about that. The trade to get Marion was made to set up this off season ahead. Colangelo saw this day coming with his team not heading towards the playoffs. That is why he made the Marion deal. The Raptors could make a splash this off season in free agency if they want to as one of the few teams with money to spend that they are likely willing to spend. Marion is one of a number of names that will be out there. Ron Artest, Allen Iverson and Carlos Boozer among the list of names.
Lots of time to talk about all of this. I don't think I have mentioned this in the blog before. However prior to this season I had a sick feeling in my stomach about the Raps chances. I convinced myself that I was upset that T.J had been traded and I was not seeing things clearly as a result. If this season has taught me anything at all it is to go with my gut. Will that mean I am always right on everything? Likely not. It may mean that people disagree with me. That is o.k as well. However we can agree to disagree and still all have the same goal of wanting what is best for this team. Some of things that have been being said about a Triano return and Calderon now be back to an All Star level player are not things I am a believer in. But I always say it that I am happy to be wrong if it means the Raptors will be better for it. There may only be 6 games left to deal with Joey Graham. I always think it is funny that everyone talks about if the Raptors should bring Joey back. Joey will have some say in that as restricted free agent. Does he even want to be back? That is another question for another day. We have a long time to talk about it all. No Playoffs and ping pong balls are on the late April menu. Unlike a Wrestlemania you can not script an off-season. But for now in T.O it is truly NOT all about the Game. Least not for this year.